Many ME/CFS patients have been misdiagnosed with depression before they are finally given the proper diagnosis of ME/CFS. I know I was told by doctors, even after my CFS diagnosis, that I was just “depressed” and needed to “lighten up” and not “stress so much”. Over the past 20 years I have probably been on more than half a dozen different antidepressants. While I don’t believe that people with ME/CFS are sick because they are depressed, I do believe that many do suffer from depression because they are sick.
How can we not get depressed sometimes? I know that I will go through bouts of depression each time I enter a flare. Even when you have been sick as long as I have, the return of major symptoms always brings with it some depression. It’s never easy trying to carry on with life when you can’t fully enjoy it and after a while it gets old trying to pretend, put on a happy face and act as though it is no big deal.
In my opinion, I would find it very hard to believe if someone with a chronic illness like ME/CFS would tell me that they have never suffered any depression since becoming sick. I think that many times patients are afraid to ever mention the fact that they get depressed to their doctors because of the stigma that surrounds ME/CFS. If a patient admits they are depressed, they fear the doctor will tie all of their symptoms to depression instead of to the real cause.
While I am not big on taking tons of medications, I do believe that antidepressants are a staple for me and I need them.
If you have ME/CFS or some other chronic illness, have you:
- been diagnosed with depression along with your illness?
- initially been diagnosed with just depression?
- fear telling the doctor that you have bouts of depression with your illness?
- take any antidepressants?